Swiss side FC Basel will host FC Krasnodar in their first Europa League game of the season on Saturday.
After playing in the Champions League in recent years, Basel will make the step down this time. Surprisingly, Basel were not involved in any European competition last season. They dropped out of the qualifying phases of both the tournaments. Before that, they took part in the Champions League group stage for two consecutive seasons. Manchester City knocked them out at that stage by claiming a 5-2 victory on aggregate.
Basel are have continued their domestic dominance if this season is anything to go by. They are first in the Swiss Super League after six games, winning five of them. Basel lost in the semi-finals last time, and they had won the title the season before that one. Their form this season has been great. Basel have won their previous four games, scoring 12 goals in the process. In that time they have conceded just twice. In their six league games, Basel have conceded seven times. Coach Marcel Koller will look to improve in that aspect.
Basel’s last game came in the Swiss Cup where they faced Meyrin. The game ended in a comfortable 3-0 win for Basel. Kemal Ademi, Fabian Frei, and Valentin Stocker got the goals on the night. Ademi has been in great form this season for Basel. He has five league goals to his name already, along with a couple in the cup and Champions League qualifying.
Krasnodar is another side who are at the top of their domestic league. After nine games they are joint top in the Russian Premier League along with Zenit and FC Rostov. All three sides have 20 points, but Krasnodar lead based on their superior goal difference. They have scored 19 goals this season in the league, which is more than any other side. However, they have conceded nine goals as well, a rate which can be bettered.Embed from Getty Images
Krasnodar have won six out of the nine games. Their only league defeat this season has come against Akhmat Grozny. They were in the Champions League qualifying process, but could not make the group stage. Olympiacos beat them in the qualifying play-off by an aggregate score of 6-1. It was a humiliating defeat for Krasnodar, as the Greek side won deservedly.
Their last two games have been 4-2 wins. FC Ural were beaten three weeks ago, and Krylya Sovetov were defeated this weekend. Ari scored in both those victories to add to his two assists this season. He is a part of a potent Krasnodar attack this campaign which has scored 19 league goals.
Basel vs Krasnodar Prediction
Basel will be favorites to win against Krasnodar and get the three points in the first match week. Both sides should score, and the total goals should be more than 2.5 in the game. But Basel have the experience and the talent in their side to get the result against a relatively young Krasnodar side.